Teaching a Child the Five Attitudes

Teaching a Child the Five Attitudes

Date Posted:
August 2009

Rinpoche gave the following advice to a student who was about to give birth to a child.

Since you have directed your life in this way, to have a child, you have a great responsibility now to bring up your child. Without saying many words, I just want to inform you that you should plan to lead the child’s life in the style of Universal Education (UE). First, if you can study the UE subjects I put together. There are five very basic attitudes and qualities to teach the child, so that your child can bring happiness to this life, from life to life, bring happiness to all sentient beings, cause less harm to others, and eventually bring all sentient beings to full enlightenment. This means knowing Buddha Dharma and educating others, and then bringing your child in the path to enlightenment.

These five very basic attitudes are very important to keep in one’s mind. This is the cause of inner peace and happiness for your child, also to give peace and happiness in everyday life to others. In this way, wherever your child is, in whatever part of the world, he or she still brings happiness to so many sentient beings, human beings, animals, and all other beings.

These five basic attitudes are:

1) Kindness
Have kindness not only towards friends, but to strangers, especially to one’s enemies, and to everyone. Generate kindness day and night for everybody, every human being, animal, etc. Practice kindness all the time, sincerely, from your heart. Think of others’ happiness and cherishing others. This makes all your actions very pure Dharma. Even if you don’t explain all this to your child, you can educate through example. This creates a good, happy life, and it becomes pure Dharma against the self-cherishing thought. This is the antidote, the medicine, for all the sicknesses, and the chronic disease of the self-cherishing mind, which has been affecting us from beginningless rebirths and harming us all the time, from time without beginning. If you don’t generate this mind in this life, when you have all the opportunities, then it means you will continue to suffer forever. This practice is unbelievably beneficial. By practicing kindness, there is always joy and happiness in your life, always fulfillment. It makes your life so meaningful when you practice kindness to others. It always makes your life fruitful, meaningful, and useful. Then, one has no time, no space for depression or suicidal thoughts; one is always able to enjoy unbelievable happiness.

2) Rejoicing
Whenever you see good things happening to others, for instance, you see someone has a better house or car than you, you rejoice. If someone has found a friend, found great success in business, any good thing that happens to others that you hear or see, all the time, rejoice. Think how wonderful it is that this sentient being had this happen. Rejoice in others’ wealth, beauty, education, power, etc. It doesn’t mean you are desiring or wanting these things. This is a bodhisattva’s attitude, when good things happen to others, to rejoice. Rejoicing is the antidote to jealousy. The delusion jealousy is an obstacle to your own success and happiness in this life and future lives, including liberation and enlightenment. It is not only an obstacle to your own happiness but also an obstacle to the happiness of others. The antidote to this is rejoicing in every single success. When you rejoice it becomes an unbelievable source of success for you. The result of rejoicing once is success in one’s life and for many hundreds and thousands of lifetimes. You can also practice rejoicing when you do the seven limbs or in the lam-rim. Rejoicing is such an easy way to collect the most extensive merits. Every second that you rejoice in your own merits you collect limitless skies of merits. Also, when you rejoice in others’ merits, you collect even more merit, and all the merit collected since beginningless rebirths is doubled. If you rejoice in bodhisattvas’ merit, and there are numberless bodhisattvas, this is unbelievable, unbelievable, unbelievable; you can’t imagine the merit one can create. From rejoicing in numberless Buddhas’ merits, even just the merits they create in one day, you collect more merit than normally it would take ten thousand years to create (without rejoicing). This is just to give you an idea how important this practice is. Rejoicing always keeps one’s mind happy. It fills one’s heart with inner peace and happiness.

3) Tolerance
Anger is more harmful than all the dangers of the wind, earth, and fire put together. These dangers just separate one’s consciousness from one’s body (cause death), but the real harm, the real danger, is anger. It can destroy all one’s merits, all the causes of enlightenment, all one’s causes for liberation from samsara, and it can destroy the cause of happiness in this life, future lives, and all one’s successes. Anger causes harm to sentient beings, as well as to oneself, from life to life. Also, it causes other sentient beings to get angry, which then causes them to experience heavy suffering. Being tolerant always keeps one’s mind in peace: peace for one’s family, husband, wife, child, neighbor, country, and the whole world; from life to life there is peace and tolerance for all sentient beings.

4) Contentment
Without contentment, one follows desire. By following desire one generates negative minds and other negative emotions. This causes negative karma, which causes harm to oneself as well as to others. It also causes other sentient beings to create negative karma, which creates the cause for them to suffer; it brings other sentient beings to the lower realms, besides oneself. So, having contentment is very important. Otherwise, without contentment, you can become crazy. Following desire is only the cause for continuous suffering, not only for individual sentient beings but for the society, country, and globally, for all sentient beings. So many millions of billionaires have everything, so much wealth, but all of this is created by following desire, so they can never be satisfied, always wanting to be wealthier, and then engage in harming others and cheating others; their life becomes like a prison. This is without mentioning the result that they are creating which will take them to the lower realms or future human rebirths, suffering for many hundreds and thousands of lifetimes. You can see that this is very important, particularly to educate about and teach this. Also, it is important that you don’t destroy your life with drugs, alcohol, and many other things. Without contentment one can get depressed, one isn’t able to find meaning in one’s life, and one causes more suffering. So, it is very dangerous, because thinking in this way can destroy your most precious human life, that gives one all the opportunities for all happiness up to enlightenment, liberation from samsara, as well as the happiness of all future lives, including this life. Developing contentment gives the opportunity to totally change one’s mind and develop bodhicitta, loving kindness, and compassion for all living beings, numberless beings in each realm. It becomes the cause of happiness in all future lives, liberation from samsara, everlasting happiness, and brings you to full enlightenment. Along the way it causes happiness even in this life. You can see that in one second of this precious human life one can actualize this, so to not do this is a very foolish thing. One’s mind is not thinking of Dharma, of the purpose of life, the real meaning of life, which is to benefit others, to free others from all sufferings, and bring them to enlightenment, everlasting happiness. Not generating a good heart, not thinking of others, only thinking of oneself, one’s own happiness, is completely the wrong way to think. By thinking of others’ happiness, it is unbelievable what you can achieve, all the happiness, not only happiness in this life, now, today. Cherishing the “I” causes all the problems that one experiences now. It completely occupies the mind, and then one can become suicidal, even kill oneself, for no reason at all. By not thinking of the real cause of the problems, one’s mind is full of problems, and one continues to create more suffering and the causes of the lower realms. Whether one is reborn in hell or as a happy migratory being depends on one’s karma; the answer is karma. If one kills oneself, one just goes to the lower realms, the hell realms, where there is the most unbelievable suffering, and where one experiences the heaviest suffering in samara for an unimaginable length of time. Then, when one’s karma is finished there, one is reborn again in the lower realms. You can see how one can totally deceive oneself. Thinking incorrectly can cause one to kill oneself, as if that will take you away from these problems. Thinking that way is totally deceiving oneself.

5) Forgiveness
If someone harms you, angers you, abuses you, or disrespects you, whatever happens, forgive this person. Practice forgiveness immediately, then there is peace in your heart and also in the heart of the other person. This is the cause of world peace, bringing peace to one person, because that person is part of the world. By harming any person in the world, you are causing harm to the world; this is the opposite of world peace. By bringing peace to just one more person you are bringing more and more peace into the world. That is unbelievable. Then, from life to life, one will have no anger towards sentient beings, only peace and happiness. Gradually, you have more peace and happiness, also in one’s future lives, then liberation and enlightenment, and then you are able to liberate and enlighten all sentient beings. There is more peace in your heart, in your family, in the world, and for all sentient beings. In the same way, if you cause harm to others, then immediately apologize to the other person. Again, this brings more peace to you and to that person immediately. And this brings world peace.

As much as possible, try to teach these five attitudes, seeing that suffering is the result of bad actions, so as much as possible to develop good actions, a good heart, and then you are able to help others. In this way, as much as possible, increase the good qualities, peace, and happiness in this life, and then you are able to achieve enlightenment, and to liberate numberless sentient beings from the oceans of samsaric suffering and bring them to enlightenment. These are the very basic things, the real education, and the best education for your child. Also, if you can, study the 16 human dharmas. Bring the real Dharma attitude to your child, in order to bring your child to enlightenment and to have limitless skies of qualities. To be able to cause that is the best gift, the real meaning of having a child, from the parents’ side. There is also benefit for you, everyone can use these attitudes, especially if there are people in the past that we have had difficulties with.

The most important thing in life to bring benefit to you and others, including one’s enemy, is to practice Dharma.

With much love and prayers...